Speech to the AJBCWA Conversation Series Event with Ross Garnaut AC

Consul-General of Japan Perth Office, Mr. Naito Yasushi, Professor Ross Garnaut AC, Partner of Clayton Utz, Mr. Mark Paganin, Ladies and Gentlemen

Welcome to Australia Japan Business Council’s November business event: WA in the Zero Carbon Japanese and World Economy.

My name is Richard Sandover.  I am Chair of the Australia-Japan Business Council.

I acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we are holding this event, the Whadjuk people.  I wish to acknowledge and respect their continuing culture and the contribution they make to the life of this wonderful city and region. 

I acknowledge our hardworking board, Deputy Chair, Mayumi Laughton-Smith, and Board Members, Andrew Tan, David McCulloch, Jack Smith,  Tamas Zegrean, and Isaac Stewart.

Our mission is to expand and deepen two-way trade and investment, deepen understanding and respect for Australia’s and Japan’s interests, and the fostering of economic and cultural cooperation and partnerships with their peoples, organisations, and governments.

In this vein, AJBC provides a platform for the exchange of information on current issues and for addressing the challenges and opportunities arising from the Australia-Japan relationship.  AJBC’s objective is to enhance mutual understanding and community engagement through networking, business events, and B2B and B2G introductions.

AJBC welcomes all new members.  We have set our membership fees at a level to attract small and medium-sized businesses.  If your organisation is not already a member, we urge you to become a member and contribute to the success of AJBC and its mission.

A common desire expressed yesterday by speakers at the excellent Curtin University Engagement Event – Japan in the World: Past Present and Future, was for the need to step up collaboration between Australia and Japan in academic and industry research and the corporate and government spheres to maximise the mitigation measures to combat global carbon emissions and take advantage of the concomitant economic opportunities that flow.

The point has been made recently by eminent scientists immersed in climate change mitigation measures that without further innovation, the global biosphere will not be stabilised at 2.0 degrees Celsius or lower.  It seems based on the latest research the goal of keeping global temperatures to less than 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2050 may now be out of reach; although I believe our eminent speaker on this subject, Professor Ross Garnaut AC, is not so pessimistic.  At a 2.5 degrees celsius increase, Western Australia will lose our wheatbelt to desert.  The climate of Perth is now tracking the climate of Geraldton 30 years ago.  Geraldton is plus 400 kilometres north of Perth.

So, the citizens of Western Australia have compelling reasons both in terms of loss of habitat and reaping the economic rewards available if WA can meet the challenges and take advantage of the extraordinary economic opportunities arising from the global response to climate change.

For this to occur, WA will need to collaborate with trusted partners who can assist WA in generating cheaper, cleaner, reliable, renewable power by harnessing our natural advantages arising from our abundant wind solar, and critical minerals in scalable quantities.

Japan is an obvious partner for WA, with its manufacturing base of advanced technology, its willingness to innovate with Australia, availability of significant capital and long shared history involving Japan, the WA government, and Australian companies.  This led to WA establishing, amongst other things, the iron ore export industry in the 1960s and the LNG export industry in the 1980s and 90s.

Without the considerable initial support and collaboration of the WA and Commonwealth governments with the Japanese government, those highly successful industries would not have been possible.  I remind you that the internal rate of return on investment of the Australian iron ore exporters among companies of scale is now one of the highest in the world.

The template of deep collaboration between Australia and Japan at all levels remains valid in WA for the creation of the new industries necessary for a successful transition to a global green economy.

According to Mark Carney, UN Special Envoy on Climate Action and Finance, former Governor of the Bank of England and Bank of Canada, recently made the following points: 7-8 years ago at the Paris Accord the world was heading towards a 3.5 degrees Celsius warming.  Today we are tracking at 2.4 degrees.  He thinks realistically the world is now heading towards sub-2 degrees warming.  Five years ago, the world was spending US$500 billion on clean energy and US$900 billion on oil and gas per annum.

In 2022, the spend was US$1.2 trillion and US$900 billion on oil and gas.  This year the spend will be US$1.8 trillion on clean energy and half of that on oil and gas.  The progress that has been made is much faster than people expected at Glasgow 2 years ago.  Production of renewable energy is much more economical than it was a few years ago.  Carney thinks the ‘spend’ on solving climate emissions, now has almost unstoppable momentum.  He makes the point that this is about geo-political security and not being hostage to Putin and other large Petro-States.  It is also about economic security.  The transition to zero emissions is a fundamental driver of jobs, competitiveness, and export growth.

In his speech to the Economic and Social Outlook conference on 2 November 2023, the Commonwealth Treasurer, the Hon. Dr. Jim Chalmers, noted that in order to maximise our advantages in renewable energy and grasp the economic and industrial opportunities, we need to get projects off the ground faster.

He makes a distinction between what is required for the domestic energy transition and Australia’s medium to long-term ambition to become a renewable energy superpower.  The Treasurer notes the two objectives are intertwined and that without more decisive action across all levels of government, working with investors, industry, and communities, the energy transition will fall short of what Australia needs.

In response to this challenge, the Commonwealth government is reforming the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act to de-risk approvals processes for the environment and investors.  Through the Net Zero Authority’s work, it is addressing infrastructure gaps to coordinate and manage major projects in our regions, streamlining foreign investment processes, developing new ways to attract capital, and modernising Australian financial markets.

The Treasurer signaled significant reform in industry policy balancing competitiveness, distribution of opportunity, resilience, and national security anchored to Australia’s climate and energy goals.

The Commonwealth government, he says, will be guided by five tests:

  • Whether Australia can be competitive in the industry, by leveraging and building up our comparative advantages.
  • Whether it contributes to an efficient and orderly pathway to net zero.
  • Whether it builds the capabilities and resilience of people and regions.
  • Whether it improves Australia’s national security and economic resilience and supports the strategic objectives of our global partners.
  • And whether it recognises the key role of the private sector and delivers genuine value for money for the government.

This has led the Commonwealth to identify 4 priority areas underpinned by and dependent on abundant, cheap, reliable renewable energy:

  • Refining and processing critical minerals.
  • Producing renewable hydrogen and its derivatives like ammonia.
  • forging green metals such as green iron, steel, and bauxite.
  • Supporting manufacturing of generation and storage technologies, including batteries.

This is good news for WA.

You have heard of the so-called ‘climate wars’ and the phrase ‘wasted decade’ being batted around in Australian politics; well at least one outstanding Australian stood tall throughout, identifying a pathway for Australia to make an outsize contribution to the global transition to a green economy.

Professor Ross Garnaut AC has played a significant role in the transformation of the Australian policy and business landscape over the past 40 years plus.  We are proud he is ‘made in Western Australia’ having been born and grown up here.

As an outstanding economic adviser to Prime Minister Hawke, among many other roles, Professor Garnaut worked with Sir Charles Court’s WA government on behalf of the Commonwealth government providing crucial advice to the Hawke government, leading to the Commonwealth assisting the WA government, just as the application of the ‘take or pay’ provision underwriting the initial investment by Japanese companies in the fledging LNG industry, threatened to bankrupt WA.

In 2007 and updated in 2011, Professor Garnaut conducted a review on Climate Change and Policy Response to Climate Change for the Federal State, and Territory governments examining the impacts of climate change on the Australian economy and recommending medium to long-term policies to improve Australia’s prospects for sustained economic prosperity.  Among numerous publications, he has researched, written or edited several seminal books on Australia’s low carbon opportunity, the latest of which was published in 2022 by La Trobe University Press in conjunction with Black Inc, titled ‘The SuperPower Transformation’ a sequel to his bestselling book ‘Superpower’.  In the last decade, he has gone into business with Zen Energy as Australia’s first electricity retailer to have a near-term science-based emissions reduction target generating 100% renewable energy.

Oh! Did I mention Professor Garnaut was Australia’s Ambassador to China in 1985-88 and has a long connection with Japan amongst other things through his time as visiting professor at Hitotsubashi University and Nihon Keizai Kenkyu Centre?

These are to name but a few of his many achievements.

Today Professor Garnaut will speak on WA in the Zero Carbon Japanese and World Economy.

Richard Sandover

9 November 2023

WA-Japan Sundowner Series: Christmas Edition

The Australia Japan Business Council (AJBC) WA has the pleasure of inviting you to our WA-Japan Christmas Sundowner.

Please join us for a Christmas drink at Perth’s hip new Japanese whiskey bar, Goody Two’s as we celebrate an exciting 2023 for AJBC!

Daniel Giles, Lean & Improvement Consulting Partner, Makoto Asia-Pacific

Since 2018, Daniel has had the privilege of guiding leaders through the intricate tapestry of Japan’s world-renowned Lean Business culture—a journey Makoto founders have been facilitating for over two decades. Daniel’s journey has taken him through the hallowed halls of Toyota, DMG Mori, and Kobelco, revealing insights that go far beyond business strategy.

The essence of Lean is about personal transformation with leaders recognising that impactful change starts with their evolution. Lean is a style that prioritises serving those who deliver value to customers. Having applied these principles across various sectors in Perth.

Daniel has seen first-hand the transformative power of Lean. So, please join us as we delve into these experiences, aiming to leave you not only informed but inspired to spread the message of Lean’s potential for fostering a best-practice culture.

Thursday, 30th November
5.30 pm-7.30 pm
$25 for members and $50 for non-members

Tickets via Eventbrite

Canapes supplied by AJBCWA with champagne on arrival and a mini-Japanese whiskey masterclass courtesy of Goody Two’s

Goody Two’s, 1/40 Irwin Street, Perth

Friday, 24th November

Goody Two’s serves up authentically Japanese whisky experiences as well as elegant cocktails perfect for a night out. Don’t miss their delectable line-up of contemporary Japanese-inspired bites either.

Live music and DJs every night keep the vibes up in this 200-person capacity venue, tucked under Hadiqa. Goody Two’s is brought to you by three of Perth’s leading hospitality figures – Andy Freeman, Eamon Sullivan and Scott Bridger.

Post Event Update: WA-Japan conversations with Ross-Garnaut AC – WA’s place in a zero-carbon Japanese economy

It was a long time coming, but it was worth the wait to see Ross Garnaut AC grace the stage for the Australia-Japan Business Council (AJBCWA) Conversation Series Event at Clayton Utz.

Thank you to Clayton Utz Corporate Practice Group Leader Mark Paganin for kindly hosting us, and to Consul-General Naito Yasushi for supporting the Event.

Speaking of WA’s place in a zero-carbon Japanese and global economy, Garnaut provided a historical synopsis of the WA-Japan’s energy story, starting with LNG and continuing through to carbon capture and storage (CCS), with a glimpse into the future with nuclear.

Garnaut delighted the crowd with a warts and all Q&A – facilitated by our Chair Richard Sandover – masterfully tackling the challenges and opportunities facing the WA-Japan energy mix as we strive to achieve our net-zero commitments.

If you missed out on the November Conversation Series Event, don’t worry, as we kick-off our AJBC Sundowner Series on the 30th November at a location to be confirmed. Please keep your eyes peeled for more on our December Sundowner Series Event.

Connecting Green Hydrogen Japan 2023

Date: 17 – 18, October 2023
Location: Tokyo, Japan
Venue: Bellesalle Shibuya Garden

As a landmark event in the industry’s calendar, Connecting Green Hydrogen Japan 2023 will bring together the industry live and in person to discuss the green hydrogen agenda in Japan and globally.

Connecting Green Hydrogen Japan 2023 creates a unique set-up where the policy-makers as well as both local and international developers, investors, experts, and solution/product providers, meet, get market updates, debate, and learn.

CGHA2023 Highlights
● Co-located with Japan Wind Energy 2023 and in conjunction with H2 Innovate Next Summit.
● Market-focused topics: Japan’s Hydrogen Policy and Strategy, Hydrogen Mobility and Fuel Cells, trends of the Hydrogen Society, Global Hydrogen Supply Chain, and Advanced Hydrogen Technology.
● New partnership opportunities: Energy generators and gas producers, large energy users, infrastructure owners and developers, Government and Investors and buyers.


WA-Japan conversations with Ross-Garnaut AC – WA’s place in a zero-carbon Japanese economy

Dear AJBC members and supporters,

Please join the Australia Japan Business Council (AJBC) WA for our next networking event proudly hosted and supported by leading Australian law firm, Clayton Utz.

Listen to keynote speaker Ross Garnaut AC, Professor of Economics at The University of Melbourne and the Australian National University, discuss WA’s place in a zero-carbon Japanese economy.

Ross Garnaut AC Ross Garnaut is a Professor of Economics at The University of Melbourne and The Australian National University. He is also a Director of green hydrogen retailer ZEN Energy and the Superpower Institute.

Ross is the author of ‘The Garnaut Climate Change Review’ (2008), ‘Australia in the Global Response to Climate Change (2011), ‘Superpower: Australia’s Low Carbon Opportunity’ (2019), and ‘The Superpower Transformation: Building Australia’s Zero Carbon Economy’.

Economic advisor to former Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke, Ross assisted Mr Hawke in establishing APEC. He was also the Australian Ambassador to China from 1985 to 88 and a visiting professor at Hitotsubashi University and Nihon Keizai Kenkyu Center from 1969 until the early 1980s.

Ross chaired boards of major Australian companies from 1988 until 2012, including Bankwest, the Primary Industry Bank of Australia, Lihir Gold Ltd, and the Aluminium Smelters of Victoria.

Ross is a proud Western Australian and School Captain of Perth Modern School in 1963. He barracks for the West Coast Eagles and resides in Carlton, Victoria.

Thursday, 9 November 2023

5.30 pm to 7.30 pm with proceedings commencing at 6.00 pm

$35 for members and $65 for non-members

Beverages and canapes

Clayton Utz
Level 27, QV1 Building
250 St Georges Terrace, Perth

Nearby parking at Wilsons and street parking

Thursday, 2 November by 5.00 pm

AJBC-WA Networking Event: WA- Japan Conversations with Ross Garnaut AC Tickets, Thu 09/11/2023 at 5:30 pm | Eventbrite

AJBC Member post-event summary: A Conversation on the WA-Japan Relationship

It was a night of discussion, insights and networking at the Consul-General of Japan’s Residence on Thursday as the Australia-Japan Business Council (AJBCWA) and the Consulate-General of Japan in Perth welcomed Hon. Bill Johnston MLA, Minister of Mines and Petroleum, Energy, Hydrogen and Industrial Relations.

In addition to Minister Johnston, the AJBCWA and the CG of Japan in Perth were delighted to play host to Woodside Energy CEO Meg O’Neill and Mitsui External Director Sam W. AO.

Minister Johnston spoke to the Government of Western Australia‘s policy direction and initiatives relating to the decarbonisation of the oil and gas sector – in particular carbon capture and storage (CCS).

Guests were treated to an enjoyable Q&A compered by former Rio Tinto CEO Walsh who delighted the crowd with his questions and wit as Minister Johnston answered questions on all things decarbonisation.

Representing AJBCWA Chair Richard Sandover, Deputy Chair Mayumi Laughton-Smith thanked Consul-General Naito Yasushi and staff and our wonderful members and supporters for making the night a success.

While it was fantastic to see AJBCWA members – old and new – at our August networking event, there’s no better time to become part of the AJBCWA journey and join us as a member. Please visit
https://lnkd.in/g3WeyG_c for more details on how to become a member.

AJBC Member Event: A Conversation on the WA-Japan Relationship – Thursday, 31 August 2023


Presentation by Hon. Bill Johnston MLA, Minister for Mines and Petroleum, Energy, Hydrogen Industry and Industrial Relations on decarbonising the oil and gas sector and investing in the future.

The conversation will dive into Western Australia’s gas sector and the strategies to attract Japanese investment. The Minister will also touch on the role of CCS and outline the next steps in WA’s oil and gas decarbonisation efforts.



Hon Bill Johnston MLAMinister for Mines and Petroleum; Energy; Hydrogen Industry; Industrial Relations

Member for Cannington

The Hon. Bill Johnston is Western Australia’s Minister for Mines and Petroleum, Energy, Hydrogen Industry and Industrial Relations.

He has been a Minister for the Labor Government since March 2017, and has previously been Minister for Commerce, Electoral Affairs, Asian Engagement and Corrective Services.

His achievements to date include cutting red-tape for the mining industry, introducing the Work Health and Safety Bill (industrial manslaughter provisions) and assisting in revolutionising Western Australia’s energy system.


As a landmark event in the industry’s calendar, Connecting Green Hydrogen APAC 2023 will bring together the industry live and in person to discuss the green hydrogen agenda in Australia and the Asia Pacific.

Connecting Green Hydrogen APAC 2023 creates a unique set-up where the policy-makers and both local and international developers, investors, experts and solution/product providers, meet, get market updates, debate, and learn.

CGHA2023 Technical Summit
The Technical Summit allows green hydrogen professionals to showcase cutting-edge technologies and explore innovative solutions for increased operational efficiency, establishing a technology networking hub.

Women in Green Energy
Inclusion, and more specifically gender inclusion, is a must to take up climate action challenges. Join the Diversity & Inclusion Talk to hear inspirational speakers discussing how the energy transition could accelerate opportunities for women.

H2TECH Live Exhibitions
Your technologies, solutions and knowledge can help shape the Future of Green Hydrogen Energy – so don’t miss this unique opportunity to showcase your organization at CGHA2023. Contact Cami Wang at Leader Associates for more.

Media Announcement: Japan to Mobilise AUD 160 Billion for Hydrogen

On 6 June, the Japanese Government released its second Hydrogen Strategy, which was broadly consistent with a previous draft publicly released in April.


Under the plan, the Japanese Government will aim to generate 15 trillion yen (approx. AUD 160 billion) of public and private investment to develop supply chains for hydrogen (and fuel ammonia) over the next 15 years. The split in public-private investment is not yet clear.


The strategy extends Japan’s target for hydrogen out to 2040, by which time it aims to increase the supply of hydrogen to 12 million tonnes, representing a sixfold increase on current volumes and quadruple the amount targeted for 2030.


The strategy also calls for the introduction of a framework to offset the cost of hydrogen vis-à-vis competing energies. While details have yet to be released, reports suggest that the underpinning legislation could be introduced to the Diet as early as this Autumn (Sep – Nov). The strategy recommends that eligibility for funding should be based on the carbon intensity of the hydrogen/fuel ammonia, rather than its method of production or “colour”.


The strategy also highlights Japan’s ambitions to play a leading role in the development of international standards relating to hydrogen/ammonia (again, focusing on carbon intensity rather than colour) and calls for the development of three major hydrogen hubs and five medium-scale hydrogen hubs within Japan.


In addition, the plan sets a target for Japanese companies to achieve a 10 per cent share in the global market for electrolysis equipment by 2030.


While limited information on the strategy is presently available in English, further details are available in this blog by Chairman and CEO of the Institute of Energy Economics, Japan (IEEJ), Mr Tatsuya Terazawa: https://eneken.ieej.or.jp/en/chairmans-message/index.html

(Source: Australian Embassy Tokyo)